Thoughts Inspired by My IPOD Shuffle (How Caedmon’s Call, Adam Lambert, Judas Priest, and Enya Started Me Thinking)

Stephen J. Drain's picture

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end" (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV).

Journal entry, 2012:[1]
 
Just driving around this morning, listening to shuffled tunes on the IPOD, talking and praying to God, and, as sometimes happens, having some truths come to me.
 
The first truth came to me when the song “There is a Reason” by Caedmon’s Call played.
 
The refrain to “There is a Reason” is as follows:
 
He makes all things good.
He makes all things good.
A time to live, a time to die,[2]
A time for wonder and to wonder why,
There is a reason.
 
I listened to this song today on the heels of hanging out with my buddy Howard last night and him asking me if I’d ever forgiven my father for a “crazy” upbringing.[3] At his suggestion I hemmed and hawed and talked about how it seems I would first need to face my childhood and cry about it, instead of trying to be stoic about it all.
 
So I’m listening to this song and it’s essentially about Romans 8:28 (“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” - NIV) and then I thought about my childhood and those things that helped set and cause the fears in my life, my anxieties, my self-esteem issues, the way I am and the way I react, the things I don’t like about myself, the things I struggle with, the things I want to change and have different, etc., and it came to me that, yes, there is a reason. God has orchestrated my life and made no mistakes. These things in my childhood were all for a reason… and it has been for my good… and I should see it as a blessing, even if I don’t see it.
 
At the very least… (?) least? Most! Most importantly, it all drives me to God. There is a reason and that reason is good! And though I say I believe in Romans 8:28, I have not applied it to my own childhood. I have not, in essence, believed Romans 8:28 in my own childhood’s case. God forgive me and God help me to live by faith and walk in faith. Let me see my life as a promise, a blessing, a gift. Help me, Lord, change and renew me. Let me receive your Water of Life and no longer thirst, but find springs flowing from within, from Him.
 
He makes all things good.
 
A while later, a song entitled “Sleepwalker” came on by Adam Lambert.
 
Adam Lambert, in my opinion, is one of the most talented male singers I’ve ever heard. He’s amazingly gifted by God. He’s a young guy with a great voice, a great head of hair, etc. My wife thinks he’s a real good looking guy... and yet he’s a homosexual. He’s open about it, too.
 
So thoughts came to me about how God is to be praised for this kid’s talent. I think about how youth, beauty, and even a beautiful voice, all fade as “God has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Adam Lambert, as have all of us at one time or another, probably does not realize how fleeting it all is. Before he knows it, he might find himself an old bloated homosexual like Elton John, unable to even sing his own songs anymore. More than likely, Adam Lambert takes these gifts he has been given and uses them for his own glory (as we all have done). We have not honored and thanked and praised God and turned all our gifts into worship! “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I’ve done it, too, God forgive me, used my youth and talents (and, at one time, a beautiful head of hair) for my own glory! My desire is that everything I have be given to Him in service and worship and praise. Forgive me, God. Let it be so going forward.
 
Next up on my IPOD mix was an old 80’s metal ballad I’ve always loved, “Before the Dawn” by a band called Judas Priest.[4]
 
I was still thinking about our lack of praise and worship and about how we take these gifts God has given and then use them for our own glory. The song seems to be about someone up and leaving a person who loves them, or someone finding their bed empty after a one night stand:
 
It’s been a lifetime, since I found someone
Since I found someone who would stay…
 
It made me think about how, since we do not give glory to God and thus use our gifts for our own glory, we also use other people, the opposite sex (for example); we use them for our own glory. We use them. We hurt them. We discard them. Oh, the wickedness of humanity!
 
Sure, there are those who say you don’t have to be married to have sex, that you don’t have to be married to be committed to that other person you “love” and are having sex with. Say what you want, but if you ever do up and leave that person, you’ve sinned against them and God by not loving them, not committing to them, not serving them, by using them for your own glory, for stealing some of her beauty, her glory, her gifts. “God has made everything beautiful in its time” and you took some of that beauty and that time, in some cases, taken all of their beauty. What wickedness! God forgive me for having done such things and desired such things in my life!
 
Lastly, a favorite Enya song came on. ("Lazy Days"?) As I was listening to the beautiful ethereal song, I thought to praise God for the beauty of His creation, for music, for melody, for harmony. I surveyed the greenery around me as I drove and praised Him for that as well. I thought about how He created music and nature, the universe, the rules of science and how everything works… and, yet, so many people love the music, even love the universe, nature, and Science; they praise these things, but they do not praise and worship God.
 
They love these things, but they do not love God.
 
It’s been said, “We should love people and use things, not use people and love things.” Well in our case, mankind has loved the thing: Music, Science, nature, beauty, sex, and in doing so we have “used God”, so to speak.
 
Instead of loving God and using that which He has created, we have loved that which He has created, used Him for it, and discarded Him.
 
“They… worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen” (Romans 1:25, NIV). 
 
______________________
Feel free to read columns I have written elsewhere here:
http://www.examiner.com/christian-perspectives-in-philadelphia/stephen-j-drain
______________________
 

[1] Some edits have been made to make for easier reading in places, but generally I left this essay alone, hoping the natural stream of consciousness style does better justice to what was flowing out of my heart at that moment. .

[2] Ecclesiastes 3:2.

[3] My dad, for one thing, has an obsessive compulsive, OCD problem, but has never sought help for it.

[4] A name derived from an old Bob Dylan song for those who might question.

 

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